Dancing the Secret Way
Those who have troubled to measure in time and space such things as emotions insist that we can assess another person in a millisecond. Was this instant character-assessment the reason why we felt uneasy, in spite of all the other emotions which welled up from within? It was early in the second week in September, 1980, and we were sitting outside a cafe in the cathedral square in Chartres, talking to a girl we had just met.
In the cathedral, we had seen her walking down the south aisle towards the great floor-maze. The bright hues from the stained-glass windows had flooded upon her, like coloured celestial music. She had walked directly across the spiralling arcs of the maize-like dancing ground. When she reached the centre, she stood quite still. She did not appear to notice us.
We were in the shadows, leaning against a column, contemplating the maze. She looked down at her feet, as though to ensure that they were correctly placed, and raising her arms above her head, strained upwards on tiptoes. When she saw us, beyond the edge of the circle, she showed no embarrassment, but merely smiled. Perhaps she did not realise that when she had lifted her arms, we had seen the full sweep of her breast through the armholes of her loose blouse.
We had been contemplating the medieval dancing ground, and remained a short distance from the floor pattern while we studied its orientations to the details of the interior architecture. Strangely, although the cathedral had been crowded only minutes before, we two were now the only ones near the floor maze.
‘I am at the centre’, she said, with the soft accent of a Bostonian. She had lowered her arms and heels, but was still smiling towards us. Her voice was almost lost in the vastness of the cathedral space.
We laughed, but it was not in mockery. ‘There is no centre to a maze’. We had said this only to continue the conversation.
‘This is not a maze’. She sounded slightly upset as she corrected us. The tone of her voice insinuated that we had failed to understand. She was right, and we felt foolish. Of course it was not a maze: we had assumed that she had no knowledge of such things.
‘It is a six-petalled centre’, we offered, to prove that we were not really foolish.
‘Six petals. Yes, and a stalk because it is a flower.’ Then, as though to show she forgave us, she once again stretched her arms above her head, and balanced on her toes. ‘You see – I am Virgo standing on the Flower of the Virgin’.
We wondered if she could see the sexual implications in her words. We could not guess her personal horoscope, but she was right about the centre of the dancing ground being the flos Virginis. We were already fascinated by this girl who was, whether she knew it or not, dancing the secret Way.
She crossed the maze towards us, offering her hand.
Mark Hedsel, The Zelator
2 Replies to “Dancing the Secret Way”
i just came across by chance to these words from the wonderful book of Mark Hedsel. Uncountable times i have been in Chartres, in the ‘weekend’ in front of the fachade nord, in La Sacra di San Michele, this winter in Ferrara… Charlotte, thanks. Mark, thanks. Whereer you are, i have struggled successfully to honour you and help those spanish speaking who can be guided as mcuh as i was, to publish in spanish your book, with a changed title since in spanish was meaningless, now it is called El Camino del Loco, i know you would love. You arrived in my life in the equator of my Nigredo, reading about yours alloeed me to understand what was going on and grow.